The 40th edition of the BRITs is staged at The O2 on February 18, 2020. This year’s showrunner is Universal Music UK CEO/chairman David Joseph, who’s implemented a big shake-up of the BRITs with a slimmed down line-up of categories.
“Our 1,000-strong voting academy have chosen a young, future-focused and progressive list of nominees,” said Joseph. “It reflects and celebrates the current dynamism of British music and sets up what I hope will be an exciting BRITs night which truly reflects British culture.”
Universal Music has done well in this years BRITs – the market leader has 24 nominations (Music Week’s calculations include distribution by majors and we double count split singles). Sony Music has 11 nominations, while Warner Music also has 11.
While Mabel could be set for a good night at the ceremony, there’s a notable lack of female artists in the running. In fact, the Male Solo Artist and Mastercard Album Of The Year categories are identical.
Outside of the Female Solo Artist category, Mabel is the only British woman to make an impact in this year’s BRITs nominations. Part of the problem is the reduced number of categories, but it’s also down to sales of 2019 releases by female artists. Albums by Dua Lipa and Jess Glynne sold well but were actually released in previous years.
Freya Ridings Top 3 self-titled album (Good Soldier) does earn her a first ever BRITs nomination in the Female Solo Artist category. But the breakdown of the shortlists by gender suggests that the 2020 ceremony will struggle to match last year’s BRITs, featuring winners Little Mix, Dua Lipa, Jorja Smith, Pink and even a message on gender diversity from The 1975.
However, this year’s International Female Solo Artist line-up is particularly strong, with three UK No.1 album acts – Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey. Getting at least one of those Universal-signed artists to perform must surely be a priority for Joseph.
Our voting academy have chosen a young, future-focused and progressive list of nominees
The most obvious omission is Ed Sheeran, whose No.6 Collaborations Project was the second biggest-selling album of 2019. He was nominated for multiple awards in 2018 but famously lost out to Stormzy on the night.
Sheeran is nominated in Song Of The Year for Justin Bieber collaboration I Don’t Care, though the 10 tracks in the running for that category are based on Official Charts Company data.
Jack Savoretti, Liam Gallagher and Jax Jones might perhaps have been in with a shout this year too.
The eligibility period of September 2018 to December 13, 2019 meant that both Stormzy and Harry Styles just scraped into this year’s awards.
Stormzy was a double victor in 2018, when Styles also won for British Artist Video (one of the awards scrapped). This year the former One Direction member has been recognised in the all-important album category for well-received sophomore release Fine Line.
Having scored the biggest album of 2019, Capaldi will be seen as a frontrunner. But Dave has already won a Hyundai Mercury Prize for the highly acclaimed debut Psychodrama.
Singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka is up for same two awards that eluded him in 2017.
Coldplay have now scored 27 BRITs nominations in their career.
It’s also worth noting that four nominees are former BRIT School pupils – Freya Ridings, FKA Twigs and Mahalia.
The full list of nominees is below:
Male Solo Artist
Female Solo Artist
Bring Me The Horizon
Best New Artist
Celeste - winner
Song Of The Year
AJ Tracey – Ladbroke Grove (AJ Tracey/ADA)
Calvin Harris & Rag‘N’Bone Man – Giant (Columbia)
Dave feat. Burna Boy – Location (Dave Neighbourhood/Universal)
Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care (Atlantic/Virgin EMI)
Stormzy – Vossi Bop (Atlantic/Merky)
Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved (Virgin EMI)
Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up (Polydor)
Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart (Columbia)
Sam Smith & Normani – Dancing With A Stranger (Capitol)
Tom Walker - Just You And I (Relentless)
Mastercard Album Of The Year
Dave – Psychodrama (Dave Neighbourhood/Universal)
Harry Styles – Fine Line (Columbia)
Lewis Capaldi – Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent (Virgin EMI)
Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka (Polydor)
Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head (Atlantic/Merky)
International Female Solo Artist
Lana Del Rey
International Male Solo Artist
Tyler, The Creator